Can PR’s diversity problem be solved?
1st April 2014
The diversity debate in UK public relations continues.
Currently the demographic make-up of those who work in UK PR does not mirror the demographic of the UK population.
This is a problem because, as communicators, to do our job we need to be able to empathise with all areas of the population. It's also an issue of morality – as a modern forward-looking sector of employment we should represent the demographic make-up of the country we work in.
The graph below from the 2013 PRCA survey suggests that there is still a big diversity problem in public relations:
To be fair to UK PR it has recognised this problem. There has been a move to attempt to increase the representation of minority groups within the public relations workforce. The issue is – so far this hasn't worked.
I suspect it is a long-term problem. It requires education in schools and universities.
The issue currently seems to be that PR employers want to include minority groups on their candidate short lists but particularly, at the mid and senior levels, there are just not enough candidates in the market with the relevant experience.
I recently caught up with Alice Weightman, Founder of Hanson Search, to discuss these issues from the recruiter's perspective.
Hanson Search are currently partnering on the UpSkill program which promotes PR has a career amongst minority groups by offering free training and education.